Sunday, February 28, 2010
The Green Bronze Mirror
Review by Renee Schwiesow
Lynne Ellison was only 14 when she first published “The Green Bronze Mirror” in 1966. It was the second book that she’d written in her young life. Lynne wrote a portion of the book from her seat in the back row of Geography class. The idea developed slowly but then took off, the words coming almost more quickly than Lynne could get them written down.
The story revolves around a young girl named Karen who finds an interesting mirror while playing at the beach. She rubs the mirror clean, wondering if she can still see herself in it and, after glancing into the mirror, the next thing Karen and the reader know she has woken up on the same spot, but in the past. The distant past. She is confronted by what appear to be Roman soldiers and after a brief period of time estimates that she has arrived back in the year 63 AD.
The book is written as a piece of historical fiction/fantasy and offers the reader the opportunity to travel back to ancient Rome, seeing it through the musings of Lynne Ellison as a 14-year-old child. While the back cover of the book speaks of Karen’s struggle to return to her own time, there is very little indication that Karen attempts to return home until very near the end of the book.
Karen is sold into slavery in Britain. Then she is re-sold to a wealthy family in Rome as nurse to the two children of the house. The story moves along well enough, includes a romantic interest, and a trip to the Amphitheatre to witness Roman games that puts the fear of today’s children playing video games into a different perspective. Further adventures of the time period include Karen and her friends being persecuted for their Christian beliefs and an ironic connection with a “witch” who helps Karen escape her pursuers.
The major drawback to the book is the series of typos and areas of missing words and text that, at times, make the reader pause to stop and figure out just what has been left out. Still, a worthwhile read for those adolescents and adults interested in fiction from a historical perspective.